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From the


The Guardian: Cop City activists charged with racketeering

A person holding a gun, pointing it at a tent in the forest.
Atlanta Police bodycam footage with pistol and Tortuguita’s tent was finally released 2 February, 2023


On September 7, 2023 Timothy Pratt’s article Alarming and absurd’: concern as ‘Cop City’ activists charged with racketeering appeared on The Guardian’s website.

The article can be read in full on The Guardian’s website. Excerpts from the article are included below.

Observers worry about the chilling effects on protests after Atlanta indicts demonstrators under organized crime law

A sweeping indictment announced in Atlanta alleging that opposition to a police and fire department training center known as “Cop City” adds up to a criminal conspiracy has observers concerned about a chilling effect on protest everywhere across the US.

The indictment of 61 people under the state’s racketeering, or Rico statute, is “clearly intended to chill larger political participation”, said Lauren Regan, executive director of the Civil Liberties Defense Center, an environmental and social justice legal organization.

The movement against Cop City is in its third year and came to global attention after police shot dead Manuel “Tortuguita” Paez Terán, an environmental protester, in a January raid on the forest – the first incident of its kind in US history.


Additional Information:

Take Action: Sign on to GJEP’s letter to demand Justice for Tortuguita! Stop the Assassination of Land Defenders! This sign on letter was originally submitted to on May Day (May 1, 2023) to Georgia Attorney General Chris Carr and US Attorney General Merrick Garland. We are continuing to collect signatures. 

Website (external to GJEP): Block Cop City

October 2023: 

  • Georgia state troopers who shot, killed ‘Cop City’ protester won’t face charges (Patrick Hilsman, Oct 6, 2023, UPI News)

September 2023: 

  • ATLANTA MAYOR DISMISSES COP CITY REFERENDUM AS “NOT AN ELECTION” (Prem Thakker, September 27, 2023, The Intercept)
  • Watershed moment’: activists speak out about ‘Cop City’ conspiracy charges (September 25, 2023, Timothy Pratt, The Guardian
  • The Racketeering of State Violence (Ray Acheson, Sept 20, 2023,  Counterpunch)
  • Cop City Indictments Threaten Press Freedom Too (Seth Stern, September 11, 2023, The Intercept)
  •  In bringing RICO charges against ‘Cop City’ protesters, Georgia criminalizes dissent (John Ruch, Sept 7. 2023,  MSNBC)
  • Defying RICO Indictment, Faith Leaders Chain Themselves to Bulldozer to Stop Cop City (Natasha Lennard, September 7, 2023 The Intercept
  • ‘Alarming and absurd’: concern as ‘Cop City’ activists charged with racketeering (Timothy Pratt, September 7, 2023, The Guardian)

August 2023:

  • Muzzling Dissent and COP City with Basav Sen and Gabrielle Colchete” (August 2023, Breaking Green Podcast)
  • ‘Cop City’: civil rights groups urge US to investigate surveillance of protesters (Timothy Pratt, August 3, 2023, The Guardian)

July 2023:

  • In These Times: Cop City and the Escalating War on Environmental Defenders (Basav Sen and Gebrielle Colchete, July 13, 2023, In These Times article)

June 2023:

  • The Chris Hedges Report Podcast with former Chicago Tribune reporter and author Will Potter on how terrorism laws are used to criminalize social and political activism and construct a police state (June 7, 2023, The Chris Hedges Report)

May 2023:

  • Activists face felonies for distributing flyers on “Cop City” protester killing (Natasha Lennard & Akela Lacy, May 2 2023, The Intercept)
  • Press Release: Sign on Letter Demands Justice for Forest Defender Killed by Police near Atlanta (May 2 2023, GJEP)

April 2023:

  • Police Shot Atlanta Cop City Protester 57 Times, Autopsy Finds (Natasha Lennard, April 20 2023, The Intercept)

March 2023:

  • Sign on letter to demand justice for Manuel Paez Teran, known as Tortuguita, who was killed by police in a hail of gunfire during a protest in a forest near Atlanta on 17 January 2023 (GJEP)
  • BEATEN, BOMBED AND BURIED  The decades-long persecution of Forest Defenders (Don Kimball, March 17 2023, Special exclusive report for GJEP)


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